Exercise and physical fitness are clearly essential for athletes, firemen, and all those whose jobs require high degrees of physical performance. Then why should a sedentary person living in a comfortable, industrialized society exercise?
Medical and health experts have determined that everyone, depending on the individualís metabolism, has a very low level of physical fitness that must be maintained to avoid serious physical worsening. Like any living being, the human body and all of its parts must be used or they will waste away. A broken arm in a cast is a very good example of this. When the broken arm is not used and exercised frequently, the arm loses much of its functions.
Surviving in ancient times required a lot of energy and strength. Back then, most people were not obese and most were very muscular because they worked constantly and burned off calories fast. Today, this is not the case. We have modern technology that has simplified life for most of us. Machines such as cars, microwaves, and washing machines have all drastically reduced the amount of energy needed for daily life. Today, it is much harder for us to stay in shape, in relation to ancient times.
Most people have retained their capacity for physical labor. Even those who have been inactive physically for a great amount of time can retrieve lost physical capability. They can do this with just a month or two of daily physical workouts. People who already exercise daily and have reached their near-maximum physical ability can maintain it by exercising strenuously on certain days.
Physical fitness and exercise are essential for good physical and mental health, including weight control. Exercising helps a person develop and keep a strong self-image and a sense of emotional balance. As people get older, exercise becomes more important. This is because after the age of 30, the heartís blood pumping capacity declines at a rate of about 8 percent each decade.
Exercise is also very important for children as well. Vigorous physical activity helps in a childís overall development so he or she reaches optimal size and necessary capacities when he or she reaches adulthood. Recent research shows that exercise can decrease the gathering of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and cholesterol on artery walls of children and adults. Excess cholesterol can greaten the risk of heart disease. However, there is no proof that exercise can make a person live longer. Former athletes do not live longer than non-athletes do, nor does it save them from heart disease. The benefits of exercise cannot be held for more than a few months or years without continued exercise. Even Olympic level athletes will revert quickly to pre-training levels once they stop exercising. The amount of activity needed for fitness differs from person to person. Contributing factors are age, physical structure, gender, and health.
Most common forms of exercise like bicycling and swimming, very seldom cause serious injuries, but contact sports, such as judo and football, can cause wear on the joints. This can lead to articular disease or joint problems. The problem for most beginners is overexercise. Many people encounter stiffness after the first day of exercise. This is harmless and does not last very long. People who are overweight or obese, past middle age, or who suffer from heart disease should get in touch with a physician before starting any exercise program. Sometimes children who are involved in competitive sports suffer from muscle and joint problems.